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[Scourge] PoE 3.16 Witch Essence Drain Occultist Starter Build

PoeCurrencyBuy Date: Oct/29/21 08:28:04 Views: 8355

For this PoE 3.16 Scourge Witch Essence Drain Occultist Starter build, you can choose between Bane and Contagion to meet different playstyles. The build is tanky enough and has good damage to High-intensity Endgame.


Pros & Cons

  • + Very High Damage output
  • + Decently tanky, safe to play
  • + Can do any map mods
  • + All Content
  • + HC Viable
  • + Very versatile, a lot of utility options (low life/life-based or even CI if you really want)
  • + Decently fast clear speed, fun playstyle rushing from pack to pack
  • + League starting is possible due to good damage output
  • + Great boss killer, can do any boss
  • + No need to use mana flask for mana regen??
  • - Cannot reliably do no-regen maps
  • - Not quite beginner-friendly and takes time to learn all mechanics and gearing in the build (but worry not, this guide is designed comprehensively so that beginners can follow through)
  • - Min-maxing with double corruptions is very expensive for high-end gear, and build only shines with certain investments and at higher levels
  • - Essence Drain can miss against fast-moving bosses, has very limited AoE and requires re-casting the skill sometimes


Skill Tree

Ascendancy: Void Beacon -> Profane Bloom -> Malediction -> Withering Presence


Shaper & Hard Boss: Soul of Lunaris /Soul of Solaris and Soul of Tukohama/Ralakesh

Mapping: Soul of Lunaris Minor Gods and Soul of Garukhan/Ryslatha

Bandit: Kill All

Passive Tree & PoB

Path of Building Link

Leveling Pastebin: https://pastebin.com/gsFUGnXR

Low life ED/Bane

Wand and Shields

League Start Base Life 3.16: https://pastebin.com/FPq0uhQG
League Start Base CI 3.16: https://pastebin.com/B0WabtDR
Endgame 3.16 Lowlife: https://pastebin.com/9MzghYCa

Staff - League Start Base Life 3.16: https://pastebin.com/5b9XNY4e

Essence Drain - Contagion Life base: https://pastebin.com/gsFUGnXR


Gems Setup

All gems are at 20% quality (or more if you corrupt them into higher quality) unless otherwise stated. Most gems are best to have at lv 21, but usually lv 20 is enough. Arcane Surge should be at lv 7 to proc after 1 Bane cast. Empower lv 3 or 4 is fine. Any gems gated by Str/Dex requirement can be leveled up to the limit.

ED/Bane Low Life version

Essence Drain - Efficacy - Swift Affliction - Controlled Destruction - Empower - Void Manipulation or Lesser Multiple Projectiles

LMP can be used instead of Void Manipulation if damage feels good enough in tough contents. The utility includes firing 3 ED projectiles to cover more monsters, which is helpful during Legion encounters, deep delve and tough maps. GMP costs more mana and gives more damage penalty so LMP is preferred.


Bane - Enfeeble - Despair - Swift Affliction - Arcane Surge - Efficacy


Flesh and Stone (Sand Stance)- Malevolence - Temporal Chain - Blasphemy (1)
Flesh and Stone (Sand Stance) - Malevolence - (Vaal) Purity of Ice/(Vaal) Purity of Fire - Vaal Grace - Enlighten (lv 3 or 4) (2)
Flesh and Stone (Sand Stance) - Malevolence - Vaal Grace - any Vaal skill/Contagion/Clarity (3)

In setup (1), Clarity can replace Flesh and Stone and kept at low level if mana regen feels lacking, but losing Blind is huge. If you have an Elder base Unset ring, you can socket Flesh and Stone there and add a Vaal skill of choice or Enhance support to give Temporal Chain even more quality.

In setup (2), an Elder base Unset ring if affordable is much better to have a good mana pool available, without it, you only have around 100 mana available to cast skills. Clarity can replace Vaal Grace if mana regen is bad, but this has been tested and isn't a problem without Clarity (at high character level). Contagion can also replace Vaal Grace if more clear speed is preferred.

Setup (3) is for those who dislike Temporal Chain. A lot of options can work: Vaal Blight, Dread Banner (lessen accuracy further), Vaal Righteous Fire, Vaal Haste, Vaal Lightning Trap (for bosses), Arctic Armor, Contagion or Clarity, and more.


Blood Magic - Enlighten (lv 4) - Zealotry - (Vaal) Discipline
Blood Magic needs to be at lv 20 (111 Strength) and Enlighten needs to be at lv 4 to go low life with these 2 auras.


Flame Dash - Enduring Cry - Cwdt - Immortal Call
Flame Dash - Enduring Cry - Vaal Righteous Fire- Vaal Blight

There's a couple options here. Vaal Righteous Fire and Vaal Blight for bosses and a massive hinder effect (usually not needed) and cwdt + Immortal Call for defense (recommended for inexperienced players/ if you want more tankiness).

The last aura we have is Aspect of the Spider (reserves mana), which makes enemies take more damage on each spider stack and applies another source of slow.

Cast when Damage Taken lvl 6

Immortal Call lv 8

The combo cwdt + Immortal Call gives some extra elemental and physical mitigation at the cost of 3 second cooldown.

ED/Contagion Low life version

See PoB


Gear Setup

Life-based gear


Cane of Unravelling, Carcass Jack, Solstice Vigil, Mark of the Shaper


+1 to Level of Socketed Gems
Can have up to 3 Crafted Modifiers
+2 to Level of Socketed Support Gems
+39% to Chaos Damage over Time Multiplier
15% increased Chaos Damage
18% increased Cast Speed
10% chance to gain Arcane Surge when you Kill an Enemy

Ring (Elder)

+12% to Fire and Lightning Resistances
Grants Level 20 Aspect of the Spider Skill
12% increased Rarity of Items found
+35% to Fire Resistance
+44% to Lightning Resistance
+3 Mana gained for each Enemy hit by your Attacks
+46 to maximum Life

Find "#%increased Area of Effect", life and resis mod on other items


If you cannot afford a Watcher's Eye Prismatic Jewel with
+x% to Damage over Time Multiplier while affected by Malevolence
Gain +x% of Maximum Mana as Extra Maximum Energy Shield while affected by Clarity
any rare jewel with
x% inc max ES and chaos dmg/resistance/Strength can be obtained instead. An abyss jewel for stygian vise should give some flat ES amount, damage over time if possible, and even resistance or to fulfill strength requirement.
A defensive Watcher's Eye with

"x% increased ES recovery rate by Discipline"
"y% increased life and ES recovery rate by Malevolence".

These 2 mods will greatly boost ES recharge rate (and we take advantage of our total life pool to further boost ES regen/recharge through this combination of mods). For life-based variant instead of the Discipline mod you can get more damage with chaos damage over time multiplier + Malevolence mod, but will be very expensive and not worth it. 

Bow/Staff Budget Crafting Guide

Before you can afford to craft the high-end bow as shown below, here is an alternative budget

Get a short bow (item level 50, normal rarity) same as the high-end bow, 5 links or 6 links for cheap

Use a Screaming/Deafening Essence of Woe to make it rare and it will give you up to

Screaming Essence of Woe 75 - 84% increased Spell Damage
Deafening Essence of Woe 95 - 104% increased Spell Damage

+1 to Level of Socketed Gems
101% increased Spell Damage
23% increased Critical Strike Chance
31% increased Projectile Speed
+36% to Chaos Damage over Time Multiplier

And finally, craft +x% to non-ailment chaos damage over time multiplier from your crafting bench.
If you can afford the 6L version of this bow and depending on your other gear, your damage should be enough to carry you up to Shaper.


Helmet Its not a must to get inc Essence Drain dmg on helmet. A wide variety of options includes Bane doing more dmg, more curse effects on enemies (Temp chain, Enfeeble, etc for even more defense if your dmg is already enough to do all contents)

Boots Regenerate 2% of Life and Mana per second if you were hit recently.

Gloves Trigger Decree of Frost on kill

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